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The People of Tajikistan, Literature

Rudaki, Tajiks, Persian literature, scholarly books, epos

Tajiks share a literary heritage with other Persian-speaking peoples. Many important contributions to Persian literature emerged from Bukhoro (in present-day Uzbekistan) during the 9th and 10th centuries, when the city was an Islamic center of learning under a Persian dynasty, the Samanids. Several prominent cultural figures lived in Bukhoro during the 10th century, including Rudaki, who is venerated as the father of Persian poetry, and the Persian philosopher-scientist Avicenna.

A modern body of literature emerged from Bukhoro in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, most notably with the works of Abdurauf Fitrat. A dramatist and teacher who also became active in nationalist politics, Fitrat wrote poems, tracts, dramas, and scholarly books in both the Tajik and Uzbek languages. His early work, including Munozira (Dispute, 1909) and Bayonoti sayyohi hindi (Statements of an Indian Traveler, 1911-1912), was concerned with Islam in the modern world and social and political reforms. During the Soviet period, Tajik novelist Sadriddin Ayni and poet Mirzo Tursunzoda gained widespread recognition. Tursunzoda won the Lenin Prize in 1960 for his poem Sadoi Osiyo (The Voice of Asia; 1956).

In a tradition that is common throughout Central Asia, the epos (a partly historical and partly legendary poem) is performed to a melody by a minstrel. This tradition, which dates from prehistoric times, has preserved an ancient oral literature. Because the poems and stories are delivered orally rather than in written form, they were accessible to what used to be a largely illiterate population.

Article key phrases:

Rudaki, Tajiks, Persian literature, scholarly books, epos, minstrel, prehistoric times, poems, dramas, peoples, Islam, melody, modern world, Central Asia, tracts, early work, Dispute, written form, centuries, important contributions, century, tradition, Statements, stories, teacher, city


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